The rally took place on King's Parade at noon todayRosie Bradbury

Around 150 students, staff and Cambridge residents gathered on King’s Parade today at an emergency rally in support of Palestine, following recent attacks in Gaza.

Today’s rally was co-hosted by a number of Cambridge societies, including the University of Cambridge Palestine Society (PalSoc), the CUSU BME campaign, the Kurdish Society, and Decolonise Cambridge. The event was described as showing “solidarity with the Palestinian people’s continued struggle for dignity, equality and the right to return to their homeland.”

The Cambridge University Israel Society launched a petition urging the CUSU BME and Women’s campaigns to remove their endorsements of the rally.

During the rally, a minute’s silence was held for the victims in Gaza, while their names were read aloud to the crowd. Activists spoke in solidarity with Palestinians, and similar events were held across the country today. Speakers included representatives from Cambridge UCU, and the city’s local Palestinian solidarity group.

Dr Anne Alexander, a prominent member of the Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU), urged those at the rally to “send a clear message to the University” that the killing of Palestinians was “not something we want our university as an institution to be supporting in any way whatsoever”.

In a statement to Varsity, the Cambridge UCU said that they “support the Friends of Bir Zeit University and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign”, and highlighted that they supported the Trade Union Friends of Palestine, which was formed in 1980 for the “purpose of mobilising and co-ordinating support for the cause of the Palestinian people”

Students, academics and Cambridge residents attended the emergency rallyRosie Bradbury

The emergency rally was called yesterday, as a response to reports that Gaza had experienced its most severe day of violence since 2014, with Israeli troops killing 58 people and injuring 2,700 others, according to Palestinian officials. Protests from Palestinians in the past few weeks, marking the 70th anniversary of the mass exodus of Palestinian Arabs, have resulted in at least a further 40 deaths.

In a statement, PalSoc said that they were standing in “unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and return”. They added that “we have a particular responsibility as British citizens and members of Cambridge University to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.”


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The University’s Israel Society have condemned the “toxic language” that was used in the event description, including a reference to the “ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Palestinians.”

In a statement, Daniel Ohrenstein, Cambridge University Israel Society president, said that while they support students’ right to protest, he found it “disgraceful” that the CUSU BME and Women’s campaigns were endorsing the event.

He added that the Israel Society was “very disappointed to be putting pressure on two organisations [the BME and Women’s campaigns] that are doing fantastic work in their fields”, but that they had “missed the mark” with the protest.

Protests are expected to continue in Gaza, and may lead to more action in Cambridge. At the event today, speakers also urged for similar demonstrations during Trump’s UK visit in July.

The CUSU Women’s Campaign and BME Campaign have been contacted for comment.

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